Author Topic: I can't find my great-grandfather  (Read 4057 times)

Offline Louise Mumford

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I can't find my great-grandfather
« on: Friday 15 June 07 00:59 BST (UK) »
My great-grandfather, Cornelius John Townsend, married Sarah Thompson in 1902 at St Luke's, Weaste, Salford, aged 21; I have a copy of their marriage certificate, and I know that this is the right couple (other family members are sure she came from Penrith, and this is given as her birthplace on the 1891 and 1901 censuses). She does age rather rapidly on marriage, going from 16 in 1901 to twenty in 1902, however..
The problem is, I can't find a trace of him anywhere else. I can't find a birth for him, nor find him on any census. On the marriage certificate, his father is given as James Townsend, deceased, a manager, and his address is given as the same as that of his wife's family. I can imagine him escaping a couple of censuses, but registration of his birth as well?
 
I'm not sure where to go next with this, and the older members of the family don't seem to know anything of his origins. He was an extraordinary man, a steel erector who went from going round with a wheelbarrow and ladder to founding a very successful firm which erected a lot of buildings in the Manchester area after the war ; he was a mayor of Salford, and got the OBE. I just about remember him from when I was very small, a formidable little man.
I've managed to trace other branches of the family back to the early 17th century in some cases, and it seems daft that I can't even start with someone I actually knew! Can anybody help?

Hurtley: West Yorkshire, Burnley
Slater, Pul(l)man, Shackleton: West Yorkshire
Holden: Shuttleworth, Tottington, Blackpool
Kay: Ribchester, Longridge, Manchester
Townsend: Essex, Liverpool
Wigglesworth: Skipton, Burnley
O'Neill: Belfast, Liverpool
Mumford: Essex, London, Pembrokeshire, India
Cox: India, Dover

Offline willow2670

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Re: I can't find my great-grandfather
« Reply #1 on: Friday 15 June 07 01:58 BST (UK) »
Hi Louise

1891 census RG12/2965 Folio 105
James Townsend Head 48 Widr b Landon Hills? Essex    Dock labourer
Emily Dau 21 b Manchester
Sarah Ann Dau 14 b Liverpool
John James Son 12 b London
William Son 10 b London
Cornelius Son 8 b Liverpool
Jane Dau 7 b Liverpool
1c Bower St, Kirkdale, Lancashire

Sue
All Census Lookups are are Crown Copyright, National Archives

Offline willow2670

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Re: I can't find my great-grandfather
« Reply #2 on: Friday 15 June 07 02:25 BST (UK) »
1881 census RG11/1758 Folio 33
Sarah Townsend Inmate 31 M b Ireland    Wife of Ag Lab
Emily 11 b Liverpool
Sarah 4 b Liverpool
John 2 b Basildon, Essex
William 5mths b Basildon, Essex
"Union Workhouse" Billericay, Essex
All Census Lookups are are Crown Copyright, National Archives


Offline JDGen

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Re: I can't find my great-grandfather
« Reply #3 on: Friday 15 June 07 17:51 BST (UK) »
Hi Louise,

There is a Cornelius William TOWNSEND on FreeBMD June 1882 Liverpool 8b 63...

Jean
Census information is Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

CHS: Barber(Tabley) Barlow(Antrobus) Blackshaw(Lymm, Mobberley) Blease/Done/Moore(G Bud) Owen(Netherton, Tabley) Spragg/Witter(Goostrey) Youd(Frodsham) Pennell Bankes Birchall Beckett
DBY: Higginbottom(Mellor)
HRT: Gurney
HRT/BED/ESS: Verney (Markyate St)
LAN: Davenport(Bolton) Schofield/Gurney(Oldham) Lord(Heap) Quinn(Manchester) Sutcliffe(Rossendale)
NTH: Tubb/Johnson(Hellidon)Brown(Kettering)
YKS: Scott(Clapham)

Offline JDGen

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Re: I can't find my great-grandfather
« Reply #4 on: Friday 15 June 07 17:57 BST (UK) »
Oh dear, could this be James in 1881:

RG11 1877 56 Page 15, HM Prison, St Helens Street, Ipswich, Suffolk:

James TOWNSEND, Prisoner, Unmarried [?], 36, Gen Lab born Essex Lanidon Hills?

Jean
Census information is Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

CHS: Barber(Tabley) Barlow(Antrobus) Blackshaw(Lymm, Mobberley) Blease/Done/Moore(G Bud) Owen(Netherton, Tabley) Spragg/Witter(Goostrey) Youd(Frodsham) Pennell Bankes Birchall Beckett
DBY: Higginbottom(Mellor)
HRT: Gurney
HRT/BED/ESS: Verney (Markyate St)
LAN: Davenport(Bolton) Schofield/Gurney(Oldham) Lord(Heap) Quinn(Manchester) Sutcliffe(Rossendale)
NTH: Tubb/Johnson(Hellidon)Brown(Kettering)
YKS: Scott(Clapham)

Offline Louise Mumford

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Re: I can't find my great-grandfather
« Reply #5 on: Sunday 17 June 07 20:49 BST (UK) »
Thanks Willow and JDGen! I had seen the census entry, but disounted it because the name was wrong (silly me)

The plot has actually thickened somewhat over the weekend; I've been grilling the older relatives again  It seems he might well have been baptised Cornelius William, apparently he didn't like the fact that his initials would be CWT (the abbreviation for hundrendweight, why on earth would that bother him??), so he could have changed it.
A newspaper cutting (which they can't find but remember the details!) from when he was made mayor said that he was born in Tooting, but came north when he was 3. No-one has mentioned Liverpool yet, though.

If that is his father, I absolutely LOVE the idea of James being in prison (although I'm less enamoured of his family being in the workhouse, poor things)/ SO far, all my ancestors have been unremittingly dull and worthy. I've been longing for a black sheep to turn up!
Hurtley: West Yorkshire, Burnley
Slater, Pul(l)man, Shackleton: West Yorkshire
Holden: Shuttleworth, Tottington, Blackpool
Kay: Ribchester, Longridge, Manchester
Townsend: Essex, Liverpool
Wigglesworth: Skipton, Burnley
O'Neill: Belfast, Liverpool
Mumford: Essex, London, Pembrokeshire, India
Cox: India, Dover

Offline Louise Mumford

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Re: I can't find my great-grandfather
« Reply #6 on: Sunday 17 June 07 21:04 BST (UK) »
I think it's looking more likely that the Liverpool one is him; the relatives came up with a birthday of May 9th, and I've just checked the April-June quarter from 1877-1885 on Ancestry, and he's the only Cornelius Townsend there. And although he wasn't born in Tooting, the family has come form the South.

Heavens!  Southerners in the family...


Update:  I just confirmed it. I searched for James on the IGI, and found him, Langdon Hills, Essex. When I searched on the batch number, I discovered that amongst his 9 brother and sisters, as well as a Henry Cornelius, there's a Cornelius William.....

I've a bit of Essex Girl in me!
Hurtley: West Yorkshire, Burnley
Slater, Pul(l)man, Shackleton: West Yorkshire
Holden: Shuttleworth, Tottington, Blackpool
Kay: Ribchester, Longridge, Manchester
Townsend: Essex, Liverpool
Wigglesworth: Skipton, Burnley
O'Neill: Belfast, Liverpool
Mumford: Essex, London, Pembrokeshire, India
Cox: India, Dover

Offline JDGen

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Re: I can't find my great-grandfather
« Reply #7 on: Sunday 17 June 07 21:45 BST (UK) »
Well done Louise and glad you're not worried about the prison thing!

You never know when you post this information....

Jean
Census information is Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

CHS: Barber(Tabley) Barlow(Antrobus) Blackshaw(Lymm, Mobberley) Blease/Done/Moore(G Bud) Owen(Netherton, Tabley) Spragg/Witter(Goostrey) Youd(Frodsham) Pennell Bankes Birchall Beckett
DBY: Higginbottom(Mellor)
HRT: Gurney
HRT/BED/ESS: Verney (Markyate St)
LAN: Davenport(Bolton) Schofield/Gurney(Oldham) Lord(Heap) Quinn(Manchester) Sutcliffe(Rossendale)
NTH: Tubb/Johnson(Hellidon)Brown(Kettering)
YKS: Scott(Clapham)

Offline Louise Mumford

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Re: I can't find my great-grandfather
« Reply #8 on: Sunday 17 June 07 22:00 BST (UK) »
Much more of a shock to find ancestors from the South!  ;)

Thanks very much for the prison information, JD, as I'm not sure I would have found it. I can go back on the IGI several generations from James, so plenty there to check!

Thanks again, both


Hurtley: West Yorkshire, Burnley
Slater, Pul(l)man, Shackleton: West Yorkshire
Holden: Shuttleworth, Tottington, Blackpool
Kay: Ribchester, Longridge, Manchester
Townsend: Essex, Liverpool
Wigglesworth: Skipton, Burnley
O'Neill: Belfast, Liverpool
Mumford: Essex, London, Pembrokeshire, India
Cox: India, Dover